Nigeria, Egypt Back in Pot 2 as FIFA Reverses ‘Special Ranking’


Duro Ikhazuagbe
After reviewing the ‘Special Ranking’ that elevated Egypt to Pot 1 and demoted Tunisia to Pot 2 of the 2018 World Cup draw ceremony slated for 4pm today in Cairo, world football governing body, FIFA, has reversed the ruling.

Now, FIFA has asked all the 20 federations for the Russia 2018 football draw to stick to the earlier announcement that pits Nigeria and Egypt together in Pot 2. FIFA insisted in a fresh notice dated June 22 released yesterday that the ‘Special Ranking’ announcement should be discountenance as it is now ‘null and void’.

Subsequently, both Nigeria and Egypt will now remain in Pot 2 and will therefore avoid themselves in today’s draw.
Egypt, for one, argued it ought to be one of the five top seeds and so in Pot 1 ahead of Tunisia.
The Pharaohs appeared to have won this argument going by the “special ranking” which then put them in Pot 1 and dropped Tunisia to Pot 2.

Only for FIFA to now reverse itself, provoking various allegations in Egypt.
However, ahead of the 2018 qualifying draw, some of Africa’s football power houses like Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroun and Cote d’Ivoire who have featured at both South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 are likely to miss out of the train to Russia in 2018.

Tunisia and Senegal, in fact, will go into the proverbial hat as one of the five seeded teams, while Nigeria and Cameroun find themselves in the group of second and third seeds respectively. That means that one of the five groups could potentially have three of the last five finalists, and with only the top team from each group qualifying for Russia, that would leave the coast clear for at least two newcomers advancing from the other groups.

The four pots for the draw are as follows:
Pot 1: Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Tunisia
Pot 2: Cape Verde, Egypt, Congo DR, Nigeria, Mali
Pot 3: Cameroun, Morocco, Guinea, South Africa, Congo
Pot 4: Uganda, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Gabon, Libya